You can never expect something to enter your life and completely change the way you look at yourself and those around you. At any given moment we are completely susceptible to having our entire outlook on life rewritten. John Updike’s short story A&P shows how this is true through the perspective of cashier Sammy. Sammy and his coworker Stokesie witness three girls enter the A&P wearing nothing but swimsuits and after wandering the store are warned to dress more appropriately by Sammy’s boss, Lengel. As the girls are leaving the store Sammy quits in an attempt to impress them and then realizes the consequences his actions will have on the rest of his life. Sammy shows signs of development and possibly ambitions beyond working at the A&P through this experience. His true self is shown through his relationship with others, the way in which he acts, and how he thinks.
The text makes it obvious that Sammy does not hold very much respect according to society. Sammy makes a common mistake by ringing in a woman’s groceries twice and receives hell in doing so. If the woman felt she and Sammy were equals she most likely would have treated him differently and shown more respect. Stokesie and Sammy seem to have a good rapport. Sammy states that he and Stokesie are very similar to one another and it seems like they are able to joke with each other often. Later, when Sammy confronts Lengel and quits Lengel gives the impression he is looking out for Sammy since he is friends with his parents and does not think he will actually follow through with quitting. The girls do not think anything of Sammy. They pay very little attention to him while in the store and leave without a word after he quits. To them he was just another cashier.
Sammy’s actions would suggest many things about his character. He seems to be unable to stay with the task at hand, getting distracted by things a distance away. Sammy stands by as Lengel speaks to Queenie about dressing appropriately and waits...
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